HOUSTON - Women who turn to men for car-care advice may not be getting good counsel as often as they think. A national survey sponsored by Jiffy Lube International found that while 69 percent of men and 64 percent of women think men know more than women on the subject, their responses to basic car-care questions tell a somewhat different story.
"With peak driving season approaching and gasoline prices rising, we decided to see if men really have any bragging rights when it comes to getting the most out of your vehicle ? and every gallon," said Jiffy Lube International technical expert Mark Ferner.
When asked where a vehicle's proper tire-inflation pressure information is located, 67 percent of men and 45 percent of women said on the tires' sidewalls. In fact, that's wrong. "Proper tire pressure is vehicle-specific," Ferner said. "Tire sidewalls list the maximum pressure recommended by the tire manufacturer. Proper tire pressure information for a vehicle is found on a decal typically in the vehicle's door jamb or in the vehicle owner's manual." Twenty-two percent of women - more than the 16 percent of men realized the correct tire pressure is not on the tire sidewall, wheel rim or wheel well.
Two-thirds (67 percent) of men and 46 percent of women incorrectly assumed simply switching from conventional engine oil to synthetic oil enables the number of miles between oil changes to be safely extended. "Switching from conventional to synthetic oil is not an automatic license to extend a vehicle's oil-change interval," said Ferner. "The vehicle manufacturer's recommendations and the conditions in which you drive are also important. Most vehicle owners' manuals list two oil change intervals ? one for normal driving and the other for severe driving. If you idle excessively, or often drive in stop-and-go traffic or extreme weather conditions, your vehicle is likely a candidate for the severe service schedule."
The normal life expectancy for many windshield wiper blades is six to 12 months. While about half of the men and women polled (54 percent and 49 percent) knew this, nearly 40 percent of them (39 percent and 38 percent) answered anywhere from one to five years. "Many drivers don't think about the condition of their wiper blades until they're caught in foul weather," said Ferner. "Checking and replacing them as needed could improve visibility to avoid a very dangerous situation out on the road."
About half of men and women (50 percent and 48 percent) knew under-inflated tires, a dirty air filter, incorrect wheel alignment, and even a loose gasoline cap can all reduce gas mileage. Independent studies suggest that maintaining proper tire pressure and replacing a clogged air filter can save an average of 10 cents and 29 cents per gallon of gasoline, based on a per-gallon price of $2.90. "Avoiding fast starts and stops, speeding, and excessive idling can also help you get more miles out of every gallon of gasoline," Ferner said.
Men fared significantly better than women on only a few other car-care questions. Forty-seven percent of men versus 27 percent of women knew cabin air filters clean the air passengers breathe. "Many vehicles on the road today are equipped with cabin air filters that need periodic replacement ? and many drivers don't know it," said Ferner. "Many vehicle owners' manuals list how often a cabin air filter should be replaced."
Seventy eight percent of men versus 56 percent of women knew the primary purpose of antifreeze/coolant was to help control the temperature of a vehicle's engine. "Antifreeze/coolant also remains liquid in cold temperatures to help protect the engine during extreme-cold starts," Ferner said. "Servicing your vehicle's cooling system according to your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations can really help you avoid costly repairs down the line."
Jiffy Lube, with more than 2,200 service centers in North America, services approximately 27.5 million vehicles each year. Jiffy Lube pioneered the fast oil change industry in 1979 by establishing the first drive-through service bay, providing customers with fast, professional service for their vehicles.
Headquartered in Houston, Jiffy Lube International is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Shell Oil Company. Visit www.jiffylube.com to learn more about Jiffy Lube and vehicle care.
An Opinion Research Corporation CARAVAN® omnibus study was conducted by telephone among a representative national sample of 524 men and 522 women age 18 and older. Data were collected from March 31 - April 3, 2006. The survey has a (3.2 %) margin of error.
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